By Amanda D. Ellison
JACKSONVILLE, Fl. — Huddled in a meeting room that overlooks shipping operations at the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT), leaders from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers met with port officials to express their commitment to the Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project. Col. Alan Dodd, USACE Jacksonville District Commander, and new South Atlantic Division Commander Col. Ed Jackson attended the meeting to discuss the importance of the project and its priority for the Corps.
The Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project is a part of President Obama's "We Can't Wait" initiative. The port project was one of five infrastructure projects chosen to be expedited under the campaign.
The harbor deepening study is currently under way, with a feasibility study scheduled to be completed by 2014. Under the new executive order, the feasibility study will be completed and finalized by April 2013, 14 months ahead of schedule. The study is examining the benefits and costs of deepening the federal navigation channel from its existing authorized project depth of 40 feet to a maximum project depth of 50 feet.
"We recognize the importance of the project to Jacksonville as well as the nation. At the end of the day, this will be one of the major ports to receive these larger vessels, which will help not only the shipping industry but multiple other industries that depend on it," said Col. Dodd, district commander.
The accelerated project schedule is being executed as part of the civil works transformation being implemented across the Corps. Transformation is more critical than ever in successfully meeting the administration's goals to expedite critical infrastructure projects, including the port of Jacksonville.
"We are very appreciative of the work being done to facilitate the projects that are on the books, including our port project in Jacksonville," said Paul Anderson, chief executive officer of JAXPORT.
The pilot planning modernization projects will emphasize execution, instill accountability and improve the organizational and operational model regionally and nationally to ensure consistent quality.
"Embracing and implementing planning modernization principles is critical to our relevance, viability and credibility. It is also critical for meeting our nation's infrastructure needs and is critical to the livelihoods of numerous Americans," said Dodd.
Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Study
US Army Corps of Engineers